Learn about the Web
If your kids are more familiar with the Web than you are, a little research will pay off when it's time to talk to them about online safety. Many public libraries and community centers offer sessions about using the Web, searching for information, and the sorts of places you — and your kids — can visit online (like web sites, chat rooms, and email).
Keep your child's computer in sight
Place the computer in a public area of your home so you can keep an eye on your child's online activities. The living room, kitchen, or wherever it's easiest to monitor your child's computer use will do.
- Read more about keeping your family safe online
Use parental control software
Many parents find that adding blocking and filtering programs to regular supervision provides additional peace of mind. Check out the control features of your online service or ISP. Don't let your kids help you set up the filtering software or share the password with them — that defeats the purpose of parental control. Some programs allow you to filter out specific sites, a group of sites that the software deems inappropriate, or sites with inappropriate keywords in them. However, nothing is foolproof. New sites are created all the time, and these programs may not catch them all. A filter program is not a substitute for supervising your child's online activities.
Know how your child is communicating online
Besides surfing the Web, a good deal of a child's time online may be spent communicating and interacting with others through instant messages, email, social networking sites, chat rooms, and message boards. Keep tabs on who your children are communicating with and the information they're sharing.
Create a Family Pledge for Online Safety
Work with your children to create a Family Pledge for Online Safety that clearly states what they are and are not allowed to do online. Involving your children in the process gives you a chance to talk about the issues surrounding safe surfing and get their input and interest in the subjects. And kids are more likely to abide by a pledge if they have a hand in writing it.
- Tips for creating your Family Pledge for Online Safety
Be prepared to handle problems
Even if you take all possible precautions to protect your children when they're online, they may encounter inappropriate material that leaves them scared, uncomfortable, or confused. Be prepared to handle these situations — before they arise. If your children tell you about inappropriate web sites or content, don't panic or overreact. It's very important for kids to have a trusted adult to turn to if online problems arise.
- See how to report inappropriate material on Yahoo